by Rebecca Podos
To be published on January 26, 2015
by Balzer + Bray
Source: eARC for review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters. When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life.
My take: Really enjoyed this one! I'll say right off that The Mystery of Hollow Places is not really a traditional mystery, with a body and suspects and clues. But it is a book that centers around a mystery -- or two mysteries, really. First, what happened to Imogene's missing father? And second, what happened to Imogene's long-lost mother, a woman who abandoned Imogene when she was a baby?
If you're a mystery fan, I think you'll really enjoy this. Imogene, the daughter of a famous mystery writer and a mystery reader herself, references both her father's (imaginary) mystery stories and also real mystery writers -- she's kind of a student of mystery novels in a way that made me smile. I loved the writing in this and thought everything felt real to me -- Imogene felt like a genuine teenager, with a mostly loyal but sometimes flaky best friend and a somewhat unattainable boy she has her eye on.
Again, The Mystery of Hollow Places is more of a "figuring out life" story than a "who-done-it" kind of story, but that was fine with me. It's not a thriller but I did find it a really gripping story that looks at why people make the choices they make. And I'll definitely be checking out whatever Rebecca Podos writes next!